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Kenya: Government must meet educators’ legitimate demands for decent wages

EI has sent a protest letter to the Kenyan Head of Public Service, Francis Kimemia, urging the Government to enter into meaningful negotiations with EI national affiliates on teacher wages and allowances.

 

The letter, signed by EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen and sent on 17 September, reminds national authorities about educators’ demands: the harmonisation of their salaries to those of other civil servants; 300% salary increments to all teachers; and the full implementation of the Legal Notice No. 534 in regard to teachers’ allowances, to which the Government committed in 1997.

“The absence of a positive move from your Government on this matter prompted KNUT [Kenya National Union of Teachers] and KUPPET [Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers]’s members to engage in collective job action, starting from 3 September 2012,” the letter stresses. “To date, the strike action is still going on as your Government failed to bring forward any tangible proposals in the negotiations with the teacher union.”

The letter goes on to note with regret that, “instead of engaging in meaningful dialogue with the unions and addressing the legitimate demands of teachers, your Government attempted to force striking teachers to resume work by threatening them with dismissals, disciplinary measures, suspensions of their salaries and allowances, and cancellation of the deduction of union dues.”

In this letter, EI General Secretary further urges the Kenyan Government to:

• Engage in meaningful dialogue with the KNUT and KUPPET and meet the legitimate demands of teachers for decent wages and better living conditions;

• Respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of teachers in accordance with international standards related to collective bargaining; and

• Refrain from threatening teachers with dismissals, disciplinary measures and suspension of salaries because of their appeal for a fair salary increase and payment of allowances.

“I trust that your Government will act swiftly to address the demands of teachers in Kenya, so that they can resume their duties without any victimisation,” van Leeuwen also wrote. “This will enable the pupils and students to continue with their education without further interruption.”

Kenyan teachers have been on strike since 3 September 2012 and no agreement nor tangible offers have been made by the government so far.

To read the letter in its entirety, please click here

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